PIP: Argentina's economic and political history may appear grim by US standards, but it is envied by many other Latin American nations, and by Latin American standards its demographic situation is enviable as well. A low population growth rate combined with abundant natural resources means that the poverty of its neighbors has not hit Argentina. Almost everyone eats well and the staple is beef -- about 240 pounds per capita per year. Final figures for the 1980 census of population and housing report a total of 27.9 million people, an increase of 17% from the 23.8 million people counted in 1970. The average annual rate of increase was 1.5% a year. With the exception of Uruguay, this is the lowest rate of increase in continental Latin America. The birthrate of 24 births/1000 population is third only to Chile and Uruguay as the lowest in continental Latin America, although the death rate is about average at 9/1000. After several decades of decline, the death rate is rising again because the population is aging. A current problem is the emigration of Argentinians to other countries, a problem that is most severe among highly trained professionals. Over 1/3 of those who leave Argentina come to the US, with Spain and Canada receiving the next highest numbers. At its current growth rate, Argentina's population will double in 46 years. It is estimated that the population was 29.1 million in 1983; it is projected to be 34.5 million by the year 2000 and 39.6 million by 2020. Over 1/3 of the population live in and around Gran Buenos Aires, the largest metropolitan area in South America and among the ten largest in the world. There is a large core of Spanish descendents still living, but some other European countries are well represented also. The 1980 census recorded 7.1 million households; the average number of persons per household was 3.9. There were 8.2 million dwellings counted in 1980, with an average of 3.3 people per dwelling. 13% of all dwellings were unoccupied at the time of the census. The literacy rate of over 90% is one of the highest in Latin America. Enrollment rates for men and women are almost identical in every age category. Young women are slightly more likely than young men to have completed higher education. In 1980 there were 10.4 million people in the labor force or about 60% of the population aged 15-64. The unemployment rate of 2.3% in 1980 was low by any country's standards, but there is a much larger percentage of workers who are classified as "temporarily laid off" rather than unemployed. Argentina ranks about 50th in per capita income in the world in contrast to its rank of 15th after World War 2. There is a sophisticated market research and advertising community in Argentina. Argentina's Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Censos has a variety of reports available for the 1980 census and from annual statistical surveys.